Nelspruit - South African paper manufacturer Sappi has chosen to ship some of its products through the Maputo port in Mozambique, which is considered a gateway to Southern Africa's economic hubs.
In an agreement signed with DP World Maputo, Sappi Southern Africa will route all dissolving wood pulp exports from its Ngodwana Mill, outside Mbombela in Mpumalanga, through the DP World Maputo facility, a Sapa correspondent reported.
“We are delighted that Sappi has chosen DP World Maputo to handle its Ngodwana Mill product. Their decision demonstrates confidence in the value that DP World Maputo offers in terms of service excellence at a competitive price,” said DP World Maputo CEO Junaid Zamir.
The company was experienced in handling Sappi products, having served it for many years before its manufacturing plant in Swaziland closed down in 2009.
“We see this new business as recognition of the quality of our work for them in the past, and the quality of our offering today,” he said.
DP World Maputo played a major role in linking regional production, mining, and commercial hubs to the markets of South East Asia.
The port was linked with the industrialised and productive regions of Southern Africa by the Maputo Development Corridor, an integrated network of road, rail, and border posts.
Zamir said Sappi had completed a partial conversion of its Ngodwana Mill from Kraft pulp to dissolving wood pulp.
Sappi had invested more than US300 million (about R3 billion) in the project to add 210,000 tons a year to its specialised cellulose portfolio.
He said containers would be transported 250km, via rail to Ressano Garcia, on South Africa's border with Mozambique.
The Mozambique Ports and Railways company, a joint venture partner of DP World, would be responsible for transporting the containers the rest of the way to DP World Maputo.
Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) chief executive Osorio Lucas said the success of the Maputo Development Corridor was not only dependent on the DP World Maputo container terminal's performance, but also on the services offered by shipping lines and the reliability of rail services from Sappi’s plant at Ngodwana.
“The investment at our Ngodwana Mill shows our strong commitment to Mpumalanga province and the contract with DP World Maputo shows the benefits of regional co-operation between SADC member states, as well as the importance of the Maputo Development Corridor in keeping Southern Africa globally competitive,” said Sappi Southern Africa chief executive Alex Thiel.
According to the MPDC, the amount of cargo handled by the port of Maputo had increased 50 percent in the past two years, from 10 million tons in 2010 to 15 million tons in 2012.
It expected this to reach 17 million tons in 2013 and 40 million tons by 2020. - Sapa